Thursday, October 13, 2011

This Guy Is Funded

So, I have not kept up with my blog as I would have liked.  Yes, I've been busy, but that's no excuse.  Yes, I recently started a new job (and I wasn't even really looking--funny, I looked for a year and a half, then when I stop, the job finds me!), and I had to prep for and go to two interviews, but that is no excuse either.

I'm a slacker.  There.  Now you know.  (Perhaps this blog should have been titled:  This Guy Is a Fritterer ??)

Oh, I work well with deadlines and can do a job well, but for things that don't have to get done...well, they might slide a little.

That is why I have some writing projects that have stalled.  I need to get back to them.  (I need to take my own advice from my last blog.)  I have plenty of projects that are completed (with minor revisions still to come, I'm sure), but I have more that could be finished.  Of course, if I actually sold some of my completed projects, that would give me more motivation to finish incomplete projects and less need to tweak those 'completed' projects.

Anyway, it feels good to be working full-time again.  It feels good to be writing another blog.  Another reason I haven't blogged consistently is that I'm a perfectionist.  If I don't think I can do it well, I might just let it slide another week (and another, and another...).  Maybe I should be less perfect and more prolific?

Well, keep checking back and see which I am.

Thanks for stopping by.


Friday, September 9, 2011

The Ground is Final

OK.  I believe in an afterlife.  I am a Christian, and everything I do is guided by my relationship with Jesus Christ (on good days...).  So, in that sense, the ground is not final.

But in another sense, it is.  You do not get to continue to do things in this world once you die.  People you knew do not get to experience you anymore.  You're done here.  Finito.

We lost another dog today.  We lost Rudy, a boxer, back in June.  His companion for the last 11 or 12 years, Gracie, another boxer, was put down today.  She was not the dog that she had been.  In her day, if anything with four legs came onto the nursery property, it had a slim chance of surviving.  She was a great guard dog.  But in the last couple of years, she moved much slower and even had to suffer our two cats rubbing up on her--not the same dog she had been.  She had a tumor on her head that the vet said would worsen her ability to get around and make life more painful, and surgery at her age (15+) would be highly suspect.

What does all this have to do with writing?  I'm glad you, er, asked!

When you're gone, you can't write anymore.  You can't send out that story to that magazine or publisher.  You can't read that book or go to that writing conference you always wanted to attend.

A new Shel Silverstein book is being released in about two weeks.  (Woohoo!)  His family went through his writings and found some more poems and drawings to have published.  That kind of thing is not going to happen for most of us.  (My wife likes most of my writing, but I'm not expecting this kind of treatment when I'm gone.)

So, make time to write NOW.  Do the things that you want NOW.  Don't put them off.

This applies to your entire life as well.  Want to go on that vacation?  Go.  Need to right that relationship with a friend/family member?  Do it.  None of us knows when our time will come.

So keep writing!

Thanks for stopping by.



P.S. - I've been lax with my blog all summer.  More on that next time...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Thank Goodness, It was Fabulous!

The SCBWI Florida 2011 Mid-Year Workshop and Intensives were awesome! I'm pumped!

Friday, yesterday, I attended the Picture Book Intensive. It was led by author Lisa Wheeler and Alexandra Penfold, editor with Paula Wiseman Books at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. They gave lots of great tips for stengthening a manuscript, market tips and advice, and general children's publishing industry information. (I may go into greater detail in a future post.) It was fun and informative.

Today, I attended the Poetry Track. It was led by award-winning poet, writer, and editor Lee Bennett Hopkins, and Kristin Daly Rens, Senior Editor at Balzer & Bray, an imprint of Harper Collins. There were less than a dozen attendees, so it was an intimate, informative, very open time to learn, write, and share ideas. We had a "Poetry Idol" contest and I came in tied for second! Woohoo! (I got a free book of poems by Robert Louis Stevenson!) Both Lee and Kristin were great! I'm looking forward to revising some of my poems using insights I gained today.

I also had two manuscripts critiqued today. I had a picture book critiqued by Alison Jackson, whom I had met at this workshop in 2009. I also had nine poems from a book of poems critiqued by Lee Bennett Hopkins (I knew he was coming, so I sent some poetry and was lucky enough to get him as a critiquer!). I received great feedback on both manuscripts. Some things to add, some things to take out...and each critiquer thought my manuscript was marketable! However, they did both warn me that the market is pretty tough right now.

But I think I can do it. :)

So, lots of writing work for me to do to polish some manuscripts and send them out.

Well, keep writing (and reading)!

Thanks for stopping by.


Friday, June 17, 2011

The Guest Interview Forthcoming!

I apologize. This isn't a full post. But I wanted to post about my progress on the interview...

Earlier today I sent off my list of interview questions to the picture book author I keep mentioning. So, in the near future, I hope to have the promised interview up!

I'm hoping it will be next week, but we'll have to see!

Keep writing!

Thanks for stopping by.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Thank Goodness it's Finished!

So, the website is done and up!  Broms To You, Inc. is ready for business at

Now, as I wait for my million$ to roll in (I wish), I can get back to writing.  I have two weekends of craft shows at which I will be selling bromeliads, but I'm looking forward to the SCBWI Florida workshop the weekend after that!

I really want to get more writing projects done and sent out.  I submitted two manuscripts for critique at the workshop and am eager to hear/see that feedback.

Again, I want to remind you to check back for my author interview.  I know I keep promising it, but I'll be getting the questions out next week, hopefully, so I think I should have an interview up soon!

Keep writing (and get it finished)!

Thanks for stopping by.


Friday, May 20, 2011

The Going is Fast

Wow!  Two weeks have just flown by since my last post.  I have done some writing-related activities:  received two more rejections, submitted two manuscripts for critique at the SCBWI conference I will be attending next month, started putting together a submission for an editor to whom I have not sent anything in a while.

So, I can't complain.

Also, I've been trying to get my new business website up and running.  I'm _thiiiiiiiiis_ close
to having it done!  I will be out of town this weekend selling bromeliads at a craft show, but I hope to have the website done Monday.  I'll keep you posted!

Anyway, keep your eyes peeled for that PB author interview I mentioned.  I'm getting the questions finalized and I think her schedule has settled down a little with the end of the school year.

Well, keep writing (and reading)!

Thanks for stopping by.


Friday, May 6, 2011

The Guy is Fine

I'm OK.  Really.  Sorry for not posting for so long.

I've been busy with the non-writing parts of my life lately.  Had issues at work.  Left my job.  Started a business.  Trying to get that business off the ground (selling bromeliads - - however, the website isn't quite live yet).  Not much really...  ;)

Anyway, I am OK, but I haven't done a whole lot of writing or writing-related activites lately.  Once I get into a routine, some things should take care of themselves.  So, I should be able to spend more time being a writer.  That being said, I received a few rejections in the last couple months and a few non-responses that I think are rejections.

Well, I am hoping to have an interview up here in a few weeks--an interview with a great picture book author.  She was busy doing school visits, and I have to get my questions to her, but hopefully, I'll be able to post it this month.  I hope you come back for that!

Thanks for stopping by.


Friday, March 25, 2011

The Gone is File!

Has it happened to you?  Hard drive crash?  Inadvertent delete?  Laptop stolen?
Fortunately (yeah, right), I've only ever had two of those things happen to me.  It can really mix you up (thus today’s mixed-up title).
Today's blog is more general computer advice, but it applies to writing inasmuch as you don't want to lose all your hard work.
I'm a computer guy by trade, so I know that backups are important.  And yet, I've still had hard drive crashes mess me up.  I have two desktops and a laptop.  I have three external "backup" hard drives.  I have a 4GB thumb drive.  Luckily, I haven't lost any writing projects, but I have lost music and video files that I had for years.  That's what convinced me to shell out the money for an online backup service.  I hope this doesn't sound like a commercial, but even with all of those backup devices, I rarely did the backups myself.  So, to have it automatically done twice a day is a major stress relief.  Plus, we're all busy.  To manually do a backup, even on just our 'super-mega-important' files would take valuable minutes out of every day (or as often as we'd actually do it).
But, if you can't bring yourself to pay for an online backup service, at the very least, backup to another device (thumb drive, external hard drive, CD/DVD Rom) as often as you make major changes.  If your computer dies, you'll be glad you still have your darling poems, short stories, novels, articles, or whatever, and you'll really be saying, "TGIF!"  (Or at least, "Thank Goodness!")
As another word of advice, save, and save often.  I tell people where I work to save every five or ten minutes or after you do a bunch of work (bunch being a very technical term).  If you want to have multiple revisions available to look back upon, use save-as.  But, power fluctuations, hitting the wrong key...many things can happen to your current document.  If you just saved it and something messes it up, close it without saving and open the saved copy.
May your writing be good and your files in good hands.
Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Good Incidence Fallacy (Yeah...a stretch to get to TGIF, right?) :)

"I've always been in the right place and time. Of course, I steered myself there." - Bob Hope

How often have you, or someone you know, said that a writer "got lucky" or "has all the luck?"

Sure, luck may be involved in life, but hard work, preparation, and persistence play a good part as well.  Most successes, in writing and in many other professions, do not happen 'overnight.'  Basketball players do not decide to play basketball one day and join the NBA the next.  CEOs do not decide to start a business one day and be running a multi-billion dollar company the next.  Writers do not decide to write one day, and have a bestseller the next.  The list goes on.  For every person's success, there is usually a story of hard work, dedication, and perseverance behind it.

So, writers need to prepare to be writers:  Read.  Write.  Read books on writing.  Research your subjects.  Write.  Research publishers and agents.  Research the market.  Write.  Revise.

You're not going to be a success overnight, but if you work hard, prepare, and place yourself where you can succeed, someday you will succeed.

I love Bob Hope, thus the quote above.  I also love Shel Silverstein.  Taken a bit out of context, but still somewhat applicable if you think of magic or good luck as success:  "...all the magic I have known I've had to make myself." — Shel Silverstein (Where the Sidewalk Ends)

Work hard so that success will find you.

Thanks for stopping by.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Goal Is Fulfillment

I've read a great deal about writing.  For more than ten years, I have wanted to be published--and have been actively trying.  I have the 1998 Writer's Market (and others: more Writer's Markets, Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market, Guide to Literary Agents, etc.) that I bought new.  I have some older ones that I bought used.

However, as I mentioned last week, one needs to get it finished.  Reading about writing is fine, but you actually have to do some writing to have a chance to get published.

Anyway, one thing that I have read in many, many places is that, as a writer, you need to be satisfied with the writing itself.

Do I want to sell a million books and be able to quit my day job?  Sure!  Do I want to have millions of people read _my_ words and think I'm brilliant?  Sure!  Do I want my writing to get me that screenplay deal (with supporting role included...another of my passions)?  You bet I do!

But the likelihood of my selling a million copies of a book in either of my two main genres--poetry and picture books--is slim.  Aside from Dr. Seuss and celebrity picture books, how many end up on the NYT Best Sellers list?  And poetry?  I love Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky, but most people don't even know Jack!  ;)

So, I still dream of lounging around on piles of cash from the sales of my latest book of children's poems, I Believe in Magic, or the six-figure advance from the sales of my picture book, Rhinoski!, but realistically, I need to write because:  I need to write.

Writing has long been an accepted form of expression.  But despite the fact that there are so many writers out there, it can be a lonely endeavor.  Generally, one person sits at a keyboard or holds a pen and paper and beats out a story, poem, essay, history, thought, rambling, or whatever.  Then that person spends countless hours rereading and/or rewriting it.  I have reread some of my poems hundreds of times.  Sometimes to make sure all the right words are in the right places, but sometimes just because I enjoy my own stuff!  (Have I mentioned how brilliant I am?  I just need someone else to discover that!)

Sharing my work with friends and family has had mixed results.  Some things that I think are brilliant get a so-so reaction from others.  Some things have had a great reception.  Different people have different tastes.  Which does make me think of other advice I've read dozens of times over the years:  When one editor rejects your work, send it to another editor.  Another editor might think it is just fine, or might work with you to make it publishable.

OK.  So where are we?  I love writing.  I'd love to be published (and relaxing in Hawaii surrounded by my hundreds of published books).  But, can I live with my writing if none of it ever gets into a bookstore?  Can I live with myself if the only people who read my writing live with me or are in my writing group?

Yeah.  I can live with that.

But it doesn't mean I stop trying.

Thanks for stopping by.


Friday, March 4, 2011

To Get It Finished

In writing, as in life, it is important to finish things.

Finish your homework.  Finish your supper.  Finish school.  Are you gonna finish that eclair?

Finish that manuscript.  Finish that query letter.  Finish revising that manuscript.

Just remember:  You can't submit a manuscript unless it is finished.  I have read a lot about writing on the Internet and in books, but until I actually started finishing (heh) things, I don't really think I could call myself a writer.

I finished the Picture Book Marathon this week (which included finishing two more picture books).

I submitted three things this week:
 - A speculative fiction (SF) poem (finished recently)
 - An SF short story (finished years ago)
 - A children's picture book (finished months ago)

Submission is almost like a is one more step completed toward getting something published.

I feel good.  I feel like this could be a very productive year.

And now...(wait for it)...this week's blog is finished.

Thanks for stopping by.


Monday, February 28, 2011

To Get It Functional (Unscheduled blog...)

OK.  So I'm still learning the blogging thing.  I changed the settings on the comments so that you don't have to be a blogger or have an OpenID or stock in Google to leave a comment.  I had heard from two people that they couldn't (easily) leave a comment.  I can only imagine how many thousands of comments I missed because of that!

Happy commenting now, folks!

Thanks for stopping by.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Thank Goodness it's Friday!

Well, we're coming down to the end of February.  The Picture Book Marathon has been great, but exhausting.

So far, I've written 27 books in 25 days.  Only three days left to go.  I wrote a few extra in the early days and took two days off last week.  And I wrote two extras this week, so my total will be 28+ (hopefully).  It truly has been hard work to write a picture book a day from a new idea or an idea that had been hanging around a while.

I also found out what Lora Koehler and Jean Reagan had mentioned in the Picture Book Marathon blog - February 10th - Stinkers and Duds.  I found an idea or two that had been pulling at me, but when fleshed out, didn't really work.

Of course, not all of the books that I've written will work either.  I'll revise and polish them, some sooner than others, but even while writing them, some of them held less promise than others.  But be assured, my critique group will be seeing some of these in the months to come.

Plus, I didn't use up all the ideas I had generated.  I have lists and lists of ideas, but some days, I was struck by a new one that had to be done or I came up with something while I wasn't at my computer.

So, Thank Goodness it's Friday and the Picture Book Marathon is almost over.  It has been a great jumpstart to my writing, but I'm looking forward to now revising some of my stuff and sending it out!

Thanks for stopping by!


(I should have included the logo earlier!)

Picture Book Marathon logo by Nathan Hale

Friday, February 18, 2011


Of course I'm the funniest person ever!

I know that's not true, but I do try my best.  You heard about the Pope and the 'TGIF' on his slippers?  Yeah - Toes Go In First!  (Aha!  The TGIF connection!)  I remember hearing that joke while I was growing up.  I'm not sure why it has to be the Pope, but it works.

Humor can be a great addition to writing.  Of course, every book doesn't need humor, but it can certainly spice up a story.  Even non-fiction can use humor to make a subject seem more interesting.

I want to write for kids, so humor is a definite plus.  When I write my poems, if I'm doing light verse, the humor generally comes easy for me.  But when I'm writing prose, it can be a bit more difficult.

Do I have any advice when it comes to writing humor?  Nah.  I think I'm a funny guy, but it is kind of hard to put into words how I do it.  Verbally, while just hanging out or going through life, I use a lot of pop-culture and current event references.  I like a funny juxtaposition of words, and occasionally even make up my own words.

Anyway, if you do a Google search, you should be able to find lots of sites with tips on 'humor in writing.'  So, I guess this week's blog isn't so much advice, but a more introspective look for me.

As for what kids might think funny, here's a link to humor development in children.  It is on a Clowning website, but the concepts can apply to writing as well.
There are a few tyops, ;) but it is an interesting article.

Thanks for stopping by!  Be sure to stop by every Friday.


Friday, February 11, 2011

The Good Ideas Flowing

I'm fine with ideas.  I read a lot about writers who get asked where they get their ideas and most of them respond the way I would:  Ideas are everywhere!

I'm rarely short of ideas.  When I'm writing about one thing, I often get ideas about other things.  While reading other writers' work, I get ideas (not the 'plagiarize' kind, the 'ooh, what if this happened instead?' kind).  When I'm just going through my 'normal' life, I get ideas.  I have snippets of paper, notepads, computer notes, and a phone and ipod full of ideas that came to me or I happened upon.

If I'm to give you one meaningful piece of advice:  Write down your ideas!  (Or type/speak them into your preferred device.  I wonder how long it will be until we can 'think' them into our notebook...)  I used to lose a lot of ideas before I started carrying around a notepad, and now an electronic notepad (or two).  You can sometimes get it back later, if you remember that you had something, but not always.

Of course, not all my ideas are good (blasphemy!).  Nobody's every idea is gold, but if you sift through enough ideas, you will find that gold someday.  And it is good practice to work with the ideas.  Also, if you're stumped, go back through your old notebooks and computer files and maybe something will inspire you or spur you on.

Keep reading--keep writing!

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Blog Kickoff! (Introduction)

Hello.  I've finally started a writing blog.  I was wondering what I wanted my 'theme' to be.  I finally came up with TGIF.

I've always loved playing with words and acronyms, so TGIF may not always stand for what you think.  I was actually thinking Thank Goodness It's February because I am currently participating in the Picture Book Marathon.

The Picture Book Marathon runs during the month of February every year (started in 2008).  Marathon participants are supposed to write 26 picture books during the month--we get two days off for good behavior or something.  ;)  Last year I signed up, but didn't really do it.  I did use it as a motivation to do more for my writing career though.  This year, I was pumped, and I'm ahead of the game (6 PBs completed in 4 days!)!  Then, I guess we have the rest of the year to polish up those picture books, figure out which ones work best, and submit them to editors and agents!

So, it is Friday, and I was thinking of TGIF, then thought how that could be Thank Goodness It's February.  Thus, a blog is born.  Maybe it will give me reason to keep up a blog schedule though--I might start posting every(?) Friday.  We'll see!

Thanks for stopping by!